Protocols, a starting point for building up the own language

Serving my Master at Antwerp’s Leather Pride
February 27, 2019
The interview: wavelength, sub mindset, fantasies, expectations and trust
August 26, 2019
Reading time: 3 minutes

An important learned lesson from the trip to Antwerp is that just a small part of the kinky community is in M/s play, from them just a part of it incorporates protocols, and still this small group will adopt the protocols that trigger each other’s headspace, which might defer a lot from those adopted by another couple or leather family.

Even the ‘general practice’ about how Sir should be used had some interesting appreciations in the original post I made in FetLife, with Nachtsoul’s on-point comment that there is no ‘One True Way’.

So definitely, as I see it now, even in a kinky event, it’s not the place to consider protocols in regards of other people, as this just will tend to create strange situations with my friends/acquaintances/fuckbudies that want to greet me, and for example might not be willing to adhere to a protocol that forces them to address me through my Master, with whom they might not have built yet rapport.

So, what happens then with the ideas from John D. Weal’s book The Leatherman’s Protocol Handbook?

Well, I need to rise first that the publication of this book led to controversy in 2012, as a friend pointed out recently. Knowing this arouse mixed feelings, to be honest, not because I would have ever considered the book as a handbook or sort of Leather Bible, but due to the fact that the book includes content that I would have expected to have prior approvals of the people mentioned. And it seems this didn’t happen.

So just for this reason, which I believe that goes against what I understand as respect, I need to express concerns in regards of recommending it. In any case, not willing to stir the shit, you can judge it based on the chain of events: Guy’s review, John’s reply and Jeffrey’s follow-up.

Regardless of this fact, and that the book seems to have a mix of reality and romanticised fantasies, this book is still a special present for me, given to me by my Master in my 40th anniversary, which has inspired the protocols we have built in our M/s relationship, helping building up our own language, a sort of annex to the contract of ownership offered, agreed and signed through collarization sessions in January 2019.

There are three chapters that I found very interesting, which to me still serve as a good starting point, and very aligned to what you can find in BDSM blogs and community websites:

  • Types of ‘Old Guard Protocols’, with the social, low and high protocols. You can find general guidance about each of them, the benefits of adopting them, and some other ‘starting points’ in this section of BDSM Wiki.
  • The positions, with a few interesting ones like the examination position done in 3 stages, that we have already integrated in the beginning of a play session. For some this falls in the category of mental bondage, I personally find them a great addition and helps me enter the slave subspace quickly. It fosters my slave pride as well. You can find quite a lot of ideas on the topic in posts like this one.
  • The hand and eye signals, which I like to create a non-verbal language that can be used in public places that help keep the M/s communication ongoing while not triggering awareness in the vanilla world
  • The dungeon protocols, which don’t differ from the usual party etiquette.

While I find that the book collects very interesting ideas and practices, this information can be found publicly in different places in Internet that discuss the BDSM manners and etiquette, so if the above concerns regarding the book make you decide not to purchase it, just check the links or look for those terms in Google or your favourite search engine.

At the end, protocols between the two extremes of the leash (or in a leather family/house), need to serve all parts and help keep everyone happy and facilitate the trip. Quoting the two Sirs that took the time to comment on that FetLife post , I agree in their advise – if you are a sub/slave exploring protocols, when possible try to adjust to whatever a particular dominant wants, and don’t allow anyone to tell you what so-called official protocol should be followed unless that person is your dominant. Anything you find, use it as an inspiration, not as the ‘One True Way’.

Dom and sub need to be comfortable with how they relate to each other, and build together the language that drives the mutual M/s headspace, learning from the different experiences and adjusting always in a way that the protocols serve the relationship, and not the other way around.

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